New Freshwater Tank

jlsmith

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I just picked up a 10 gallon Top Fin tank starter kit (heater, filter, light) at Petsmart today. I've got it all set up and running with the appropriate chemicals in the water and everything. I haven't added fish as I understand that it needs to cycle first I have a few questions about it though as I've never had a tank so big before. Currently I have a betta in a 1.5 gallon tank that I received as a gift. After some research I found that this is actually pretty small for a betta and thus saved up for this new tank. My questions are as follows:

1. How long should it cycle before I add fish? (Current betta will remain in his small tank until the big one is established)
2. I didn't get a test kit for the water but understand that this is needed. Any recommendations for kind/inexpensive/large enough to last a long time?
3. I've done a little bit of looking online and saw that it is possible to keep other things in the tank along with a betta. Any recommendations for amount/types of fish/critters I can keep in there with my betta? Also when to introduce the new fish into the tank versus how long my current betta should be in there before I add new fish?
 

Laxin10

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1. It depends on the method, I will address that later.
2. I, as well as most people here, strongly recommend an API test kit.
3. Glo-light tetras work great with betta. You could also try red cherry shrimp if you like. There are way more alternatives but these are ones that I have experience with.

In terms of cycling a tank, because this is practically your first time, I recommend using Tetra Safe-Start and doing weekly water changes with the betta in the tank. Bettas produce very little waste, and with the bacterial additives (tetra safe-start), I really think it is a good way to kick start a tank for a beginner.
 

Laxin10

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Most people here recommend 25-30% water changes weekly. 20-25% should work well for you. All you have to do is use a dechlorinator such as Seachem Prime and add it to the water with the equipment running, wait 24 hours, and add the Betta and the bacteria.
 

Accents

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I agree with the people above, but if you just got a tank the cycling can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks. If the 1.5 is already cycled, you can add 1/4 of the sponge to the new tank to jumpstart the beneficial bacteria. Doses have a chance of working, but it may not. 25-30% water changes are good, but if your fish is doing well in the 1.5 and you're not willing to do a lot of water changes + testing basically every day until the tank cycles, I'd personally keep him/her in there until the testing kit shows 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and a few nitrates for a full week. If it's not for a full week, it could be a mini-cycle. Otherwise, daily water changes and testing every day until the tank is stabilized. API test kits are good, and you could try snails, although you'd need a full hood. Shrimp would also work, although they do need pristine water conditions. Some tetras could work, although I'd consider carefully because they can get nippy and need to be in schools. You also need to know your betta pretty well. Some are more aggressive than others and will attack the other animals in the tank, which is why you would need another tank set up in case it doesn't work out - otherwise, you're going to have damaged/dead fish.
 
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